On Your 20's
Personal Essay by Gracie Alvarez
It’s a crazy feeling to realize you’re no longer a child when you’ve literally been a child your whole life.
Once you hit your 20s, your childhood seems to immediately get pushed behind you. Suddenly it’s “when I was a kid,” instead of “I’m just a kid.” Even if you’re still calling your mom to make your doctors appointments or asking her what temperature you have to cook chicken to, it all just feels different.
It normally starts with living on your own for the first time —not living on your own in a dorm, that doesn’t count. Living on your own in an apartment or house makes it seem really official. Commuting to work, class, or the grocery store through downtown, taking public transit, and walking amidst strangers feels different. It can be a scary thing. It’s scary to realize the people around you aren’t looking out for you like they did when you were a kid. When you were a kid, you always had someone looking out for you, making sure you didn’t get lost or talk to strangers. Now, you look out for yourself.
It’s scary, but also liberating. You have total freedom and total independence. Yes, nobody’s looking out for you, but nobody cares either. You don’t have to worry what others think of you because most of the time, they don’t even notice you. Nobody’s going to tell you that you can’t wear a low cut shirt or mismatched socks or that you need to brush your hair. It’s all on you and you decide 100% of what you do.
On the same matter; it’s important to recognize that very few people are actually out to get you. The suspicious people you pass on the street, the coworkers that always seem to be one-upping you, or the neighbor that leaves their trash on your side of the curb, are most likely not out to get you. Most people are in the same situation as you,just trying to find their way anyway they can.
Venturing into adulthood is full of all kinds of harsh realizations. For one, it’s around this time that you tend to realize your parents are just people. They don’t know everything, they make mistakes, and most importantly, they’re not untouchable. Parents get sick, depressed and injured. They mess up and get hurt just like you do. It’s terrifying, eye-opening and heartwarming all at the same time. People can get closer to their parents around this time, butat the same time, people can get more distant. It all depends on what you realize.
Similarly, it’s hard to know who to let into your heart and life at this time. As you get older, romantic relationships seem to have a lot more riding on them. They carry more danger with them. It’s easier to get hurt the closer you get to that get-married-have-kids-start-a-career age. Be careful who you let in and don’t do it lightly.
Friendships, on the other hand, will save you. Have as many and as serious good friendships as you can because they’re what you really need. You’ll face many ups and downs as you get closer to adulthood, and having a wealth of friends to fall back on when you get hurt will save you. Chances are, they are all going through the same things you are. Other people feel exactly how you feel even if it seems like they don’t.
Lastly, you don’t have to have it all figured out. There is no ‘right time’ for everything. Things happen when they happen for you and you’ll figure it all out eventually. Experience as many things as you can and make as many mistakes as you can. Don’t worry so much about what everyone else is doing or how fast they’re doing it.
It’s easy to feel like life is aimless when you hit your 20s. Embrace it and know that it’s supposed to feel that way.
Gracie Alvarez is a Low Caliber co-founder. She is currently studying journalism and political science. In her free time, Gracie can be found curating flower arrangements or finding the best spots to have a good time. You can track her adventures on her Instagram @grace.alv